Responses of 300 federal executives (blue bar is current rate; red bar is expectation over next 12-18 months.)
Nearly two thirds of federal executives involved with mobile computing decisions in a recent poll reported that tablet computers are now being used by at least some employees at their agencies. And the over half believe that at least 5% of agency employees will primarily use tablets in their work in the next 12 to 18 months.
That’s according to findings from an extensive survey commissioned by AOL Government of 300 federal managers involved with agency mobile technology strategy, policy, purchasing, design, deployment initiatives, or support at 48 federal agencies, including all branches of the military.
The study examined the impact mobile technology is having on the productivity and operations of federal government agencies. It also explored areas federal managers believe offer the greatest potential for cost savings. And it looked into the primary barriers in moving forward with mobile strategies and what could be done to enable faster adoption.
Federal managers were asked to assess how widely mobile devices are in use by agency employees and how they expect that to change over the next 12 to 18 months.
The use of tablets within federal agencies reflects the increasing willingness of agencies to test and adopt tablet computers in limited circumstances, while others are taking a wait-and-see approach.
Currently, the study found, 38% of respondents reported that no employees at their agencies were using tablets. Another 37% said less than 5% of their agency’s workforce are using tablets. (See chart above.)
However, a quarter of respondents said that 5% or more of their agencies employers are currently working with tablets – and looking ahead over the next 12 to 18 months, more than half (52%) of respondents expected more than 5% of employees to be using tablets.
Smartphone and laptop use is also expected to grow, though not as dramatically. Currently, 86% of respondents in the survey reported that at least some employees at their agencies are relying on smartphones to do their work – and nearly all (96%) said at least some employees rely on laptops.
But the penetration of smartphones has grown significantly and is expected to continue to grow: 45% of federal managers, for instance report that half or more of their agency’s employees now rely primarily on smartphones to do their work. An an equal percentage (45%) reported the same level of usage for laptops.
Those proportions jumped five percentage points when federal managers were asked about their expectations over the next 12 to 18 months: Exactly half (50%) said that 50% or more of their agency’s employees would likely rely primarily on smartphones over the next 12 to 18 months – and an equal proportion had the same expectation about laptops.
While the reliance on desktops is expected to decrease over the next year and a half, it would appear desktops aren’t disappearing in a big way anytime soon. While 67% of the respondents said more than half of their agency’s employees rely on desktops currently, that proportion only dropped to 62% who felt that would be the case a over the next 12 to 18 months.
And one category that is often overlooked – the use of two-way radios – is also not expected to change much over the next year and half as emergency responders continue to depend on reliable communications outside the airwaves that most mobile devices depend on.
The study is based on a survey conducted in late March by Market Connections to pre-qualified federal government decision makers who are involved in mobile technology policy, strategy, deployment, purchasing, system support or mobile application or website design. About 60% of respondents (178) work for federal civilian agencies, intelligence and legislature; about 40% of respondents (122) work for various branches of the military and the Department of Defense. The results are considered reliable plus or minus 5.7 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.
Click here for the full results of the study from Breaking Gov.